Britain says government websites are at risk of cyberattack from hackers who support the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks.
Prime Minister David Cameron's office says it is concerned about attacks on government websites used to file tax returns or to claim benefits, which store sensitive personal information.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is scheduled to appear in a British court on December 14 for an extradition hearing. He is wanted in Sweden on sex crime allegations. Authorities fear the hearing could prompt attacks on British websites.
Hackers have launched attacks on companies that have cut ties to WikiLeaks, including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal.
Several European websites of Internet retailer Amazon were also offline for about half an hour late on December 12.
But Amazon, which has also cut ties to WikiLeaks, denied that WikiLeaks supporters were responsible for the failure of its websites in several European countries.
compiled from agency reports